Defenseman Tommy Cross and goaltender Adam Morrison were among the Providence Bruins final cuts in advance of this weekend’s start to the minor league hockey season. Both will definitely be logging substantial ice time for the South Carolina Stingrays, though odds are, they will ultimately see at least a few slivers of AHL action in the coming campaign.
As the P-Bruins roster stands right now entering Friday night’s regular-season opener, there are six blueliners with at least a full year of professional experience. Together with rookies Torey Krug and Zach Trotman, they have combined for 422 NHL games-played and 721 AHL appearances for 1,143 total professional bouts.
Contrast that with the six defenders Providence iced for the 2011-12 season opener. Ryan Button, Marc Cantin, Colby Cohen, Marvin Degon, Kevan Miller and David Warsofsky had combined for 250 AHL games and 399 professional twirls altogether.
The return of familiar face Andrew Bodnarchuk the following week gave them at least one reckonable veteran, but barely upped the cumulative total of professional experience to the 600-game range on any given night until Thanksgiving.
The result was a fateful 8-14-2 start characterized by a rash of nights where the P-Bruins were routinely reduced to single-digit shots on goal in every period. Of the season’s first 69 full-length periods, Providence managed 10 or more shots in only 29 and was outshot in 36 of them.
With four returning regulars and a seasoned import in Garnet Exelby, the act of protecting and supporting goalies Michael Hutchinson and Niklas Svedberg promises to be more efficient in 2012-13.
Here is a closer look at the P-Bruins 10 blueliners and backstops to start this season.